Sailing: Jack Arnell reflects on Finn Silver Cup debut

TESTING TIME: Christchurch sailor Jack Arnell (right) (Pic: Robert Deaves)

TESTING TIME: Christchurch sailor Jack Arnell (right) (Pic: Robert Deaves)

First published in Sport
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PHILOSOPHICAL Jack Arnell was keen to reflect on the positives despite suffering several moments of misfortune at the Finn Silver Cup in the Netherlands.

The 17-year-old Christchurch Sailing Club prospect finished 25th from a field of 32 on his maiden voyage in the world’s top tournament for sailors aged under 22.

In choppy conditions of 20-plus knots, Arnell settled in with positions of 25th and 22nd in Sunday’s openers before improving once again with 20th spot on the Monday.

But matters took a turn for the worse on Tuesday when Arnell capsized at the start of the second race and had his sail torn by a passing boat, forcing his retirement from that leg.

The team launched a protest but the decision went against them with positions of 23rd and 21st secured in the other two races.

Difficult conditions prevented any action on Wednesday before Arnell’s best performance of the series was curtailed by a weather- related cancellation on Thursday just as he had moved up to third place round the downwind mark.

With Friday’s finale written off as well, Andy Rushworth’s protégé was left cursing his luck but insisted there were plenty of reasons to be cheerful about the trip.

Arnell told the Daily Echo: “It really didn’t go my way, especially with the difficult conditions it was a really hard week.

"We were on the start line and one of the German competitors forced me to capsize before going straight over my sail and tearing it. We put in a protest but they thought that I could have avoided the collision.

“I didn’t agree and felt he could have avoided contact but that was the decision of a professional jury and you have to respect it.

“That gave me extra motivation the next day and a quarter of the way through the downwind leg I had got myself into the top three before they stopped the race. It was frustrating but there was nothing I could do and it felt good to make that kind of progress before I came home.

“It was such a good experience, I loved every minute of it. It was worthwhile because I got offered a couple of opportunities while I was there like the chance to attend a sailing camp in Valencia which I hope to do later in the year.

“As tough as it was, it will stand me in good stead for next year’s event.”

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